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Planning Board Minutes, 09/26/2017

Town of Lenox
Planning Board
September 26, 2017
Landuse Meeting Room

Members present:  Chair Pam Kueber, (PK); Tom Delasco, (TD); Kate McNulty-Vaughan, (KMV); Deborah Rimmler, (DR);
Absent without notification: Kameron Spaulding, (KS)
Staff present:  Peggy Ammendola, Land Use Clerk, (PA)
Also present:  Jim Biancola and Selectman Ken Fowler

The meeting was opened at 6:00 PM.

Documents provided for the meeting:
  • Section 1. General Regulations, 1.1 Signs dated September 12, 2017 by Jim Biancola
  • September 12, 2017 Minutes
  • Zoning for Housing in Lenox
  • Zoning bylaw marked up with proposed changes
Minutes – September 12, 2017-Tabled

Citizens Open Forum - Mr. Biancola reviewed his document in which he has suggestions for amending, for the sake of clarity, the sign section of the zoning bylaw.  He stated that 99 percent is housekeeping and the changes are not substantive.  Mr. Biancola said that Land Use Director Gwen Miller had been instrumental in assisting him in creating the document. He asked that he be placed on the agenda for after the November 2017 Special Town Meeting (STM). The Board thanked Mr. Biancola for his work.  

Form A - Meryl Lewin, 23 Bramble Lane, Map 2 Parcel 4- Patrick McColgan of Taconic Land Consultants, presented the Form A.  Ms. Lewin wants to take lots 1 through 5 to make one contiguous lot.  After review, and noting that the Form A met the requirements, DR made a motion to endorse the Form A and PK seconded the motion.  The Board voted to agree 4-0.  

Recreational marijuana:
PK noted that at the last meeting the Board spoke about recreational marijuana in which resident Ellen Roche was a participant.  At that meeting, PK said that Ms. Roche has inaccurate information regarding the required number of signatures a citizen had to have to have their own article on the warrant for a STM.  The correct figures are 100 signatures, or 10% of the registered voter population, whichever is less.  PK stated that she has spoken to Mary Ellen Deming, Director of Administrative Services, to correct the error with Ms. Roche, which already has been done. PK also asked Ms. Deming to advise Town Manager Chris Ketchen that the Planning Board had not put a recreational marijuana prohibition on the STM warrant, preferring to consider the issue in its entirety and present at the May or Nov. 2018 Town Meeting – but that the Select Board could consider a prohibition within the general bylaw for this Nov. if they desired. PK asked to get on an agenda with Select Board to update the community on where we stand with recreational marijuana, and that has been set up for Oct. 4. TD will lead the discussion there as PK is out of town.  
PK asked that TD also, depending on what was decided tonight, provide a preview of what the Board would like to have on the STM warrant when speaking at the Selectman’s meeting.  

The Board discussed their dilemma with time constraints in being well prepared for the November STM. This year the Selectmen had suggested that there be two town meetings annually with the ATM dealing with the budget items and focus on bylaw amendments for a STM in the fall.  PK pointed out that there are several proposed amendments and on new bylaw which is related to affordable housing. With less than five weeks before the STM, the public hearing for the changes would have to be at the Board’s next scheduled meeting.  KMV felt that she didn’t feel confident enough to defend proposed changes at the STM. Issues mentioned included engaging the property owners in the neighborhoods who would be affected, coming up with a coherent plan so that the community would be receptive to proposals. She felt comfortable taking on the non-conforming lots and lessening the square footage required. “Let’s figure out what we are doing.”, she said, but she wants the opportunity to build support.  PK agreed with KMV stating that there are many good proposals, but the public needs to be properly educated before the November STM.  TD responded that the opportunity is there for the public to attend the Board meetings and Public Hearings, but few participate.  DR felt that the Board should set a date to have a plan for a plan.  Discussion ensued, much of it focused on the need for affordable housing and how zoning amendments could provide some relief. The Board reviewed the Bylaw Amendments and Town Meeting Sequence (There were ten listed.) part of the Zoning for Housing in Lenox document, pages 2 and 3, and discussed and made initial recommendations on the rank and order of each of the proposed amendment.  PK stated that for the next step she will work with GM and “re-order the ten items again and at the next meeting we will take another look at it and get agreement on the order we want to attack things which is not much different from is what it is.”  TD suggested that the Board go through each item and discuss the pros and cons of each one and then make a list acknowledging that some amendments may not get through the fall meeting of 2018.

PK asked the Board to weigh in on whether she should schedule a meeting with Town Manager Chris Ketchen and a Selectman to discuss handing off to the Board of Selectmen (BOS) the Lenox Dale findings and Village parking.  She felt that a meeting with the Town Manager and a Selectman should occur first before going before the Selectboard at their upcoming meeting.  It was decided that the Board should look at both the parking and Lenox Dale findings once more before handing them both off to the BOS.  PK needs to finish this wrap-up and schedule it for reviews and discussion at a subsequent meeting.

Information on the following meetings was discussed:
  • Oct. 4 –Informational presentation to Select Board on Recreational Marijuana anticipated bylaw amendment timeline.
  • Short-Term Rentals Subcommittee.
  • BRPC meeting 9/27
  • BPRC Annual Dinner 10/19, registration closes 10/10
Next meeting: Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017

The meeting was adjourned at 8:07 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Peggy Ammendola

Lenox Town Hall  6 Walker Street, Lenox, MA 01240   PH: (413) 637-5500